Samir Moussa Washington D.C. Recording Session Details by Ney Mello:
The Neumann M149 tube is a very high voltage output microphone ( +18dBu ) , so even for Samir's silky voice I had to set the -20dB pad on the studio's Avalon AD 2022 pre to avoid red lining the pro tools channel. For the voice to really bloom I set the Avalon input control almost to zero (remember: this microphone outputs a very high dBu signal) and instead, the signal gain was set by turning the OUTPUT of the Avalon to almost 10.
You see, that way you have the Avalon working it's magic full blast and you REALLY get what it has to give, instead of setting the Avalon's input high and getting mostly the high gain M149 circuit audio charater, which one may want to do with a low quality pre to to minimize it's influence; but, the concept here was to really use the beautiful Avalon circuits which bloom gorgeously if they are really pushed. The M149 Tube has extremely low noise floor and an unbelievable sound,and the Avalon is a very quiet set of circuits with an external power supply to further reduce noise, so you can do that.
I put Samir a foot and a half away from the mic and for the doubling and some harmonies, he was about 3 feet away from the mic. This enriches the voice timbre, avoids proximity effect, avoids plosives and sibilance issues. It is an old 1950s/60s technique responsible for most of the legendary vocal recordings produced to this day in a professional tracking room/soundstage. Legend Bruce Swedien popularised the procedure of having the vocalist take a step back from the microphone for vocal doubling and harmonies.
The microphone is positioned above the head to avoid excessive high frequency reflections of the singers palate. For details, please consult "Mixing With Your Mind" by Michael Stavrou (www.mixingwithyourmind.com
Samir sings out of his right side so we positioned the Microphone accordingly; a master tip from legendary Michael Stavrou
) as was the elevated mic positioning.
The tracks came out fantastic and Samir is ultra-talented. It was first take city all night.
I used the Essential sound MusiCord Pro power cord on the studio's AD 2022 Avalon power supply and the Neumann M149 power supply and a Accusound Silver Studio Pro high end mic cable I got in La$ Vega$.